Today is my 40th BIRTHDAY! That's right...I'm 40! Yikes! The age I thought was old not too many years ago. The "over the hill" age. The "I'm never going to be THAT old" age. LOL! Well, it's here and I made it...but I still feel as young in heart as I did in my 20s. Sure, some of my body parts ache a bit and are not quite as 20-ish as I remember, my eyesight is not as sharp as it once was, and my energy has turned down a tad, but I'm healthier and happier than I've been in years.
How's your 2016 going? I hope it's been a great year so far. After the tough challenges of 2014 and 2015 with my daughter's cancer fight, the loss of my grandmother, and two job disappointments, I promised myself I would make 2016 a better year. A reboot if you will. This year is a milestone year for me and I wanted to make a positive change both mentally and physically for the BIG 4-0. Moving forward, I'm focused on less stress and more meaningful time for my faith, family, and myself, I set some real goals and my life is on a much better path. Prayers and patience (even for me) have been the key.
Here are just a few of my top #2016goals:
Morning Prayer TimeThe first thing I needed to reboot was my prayer time. I felt I neglected the importance and necessity of my relationship with God last year. So, I made myself get up at 5-5:30 am, before the day really began, to spend quiet time in prayer. It was a tough adjustment but this simple change in sitting with the Good Lord has enhanced my life in amazing ways. Along with my daily readings and reflections, I'm faithfully keeping a prayer journal. And, after a 10 year hiatus, I joined my church community for our annual Good Friday Walk. I was asked to give a witness of my faith journey especially during Lily's cancer treatment. It was a beautiful day spent with friends, family, and God. This was Luke's first year to participate in the Walk and I was proud of his reverent attitude for the day.
I'm typically organized and orderly but wasn't feeling as if I was accomplishing much over the past few years using my iPad calendar and task list. So, I decided to go back to a paper planner. After some searching, I bought one from A Faithful Mom planner. There's something fulfilling about writing down and checking off a to-do list or writing out a calendar. I've completed more tasks with my paper planner in the past six months than my Outlook task list I used for the last 5 years!
#fitforfourtyI felt like I've let myself go over the years...not exercising or eating well, hair's too grey, unnecessary stress, self disappointments, etc. With this year being my 40th, I really wanted to feel better about myself. So after my prayer time, I added exercise as part of my morning routine. I wrote out a workout plan in my planner for 5 days/week. The cool thing about my planner is a checklist for daily scripture, prayer, and exercise, plus a section to keep track of daily items (i.e workout and heart rate monitoring). I rotated PiYO, walking, and a Couch to 5K app. I've stuck to my plan well, incorporating running after I finished the C25K app. My diet still needs improvements but I'm finally seeing physical results from my workouts. Yay! #littlewins
Running EventsWhile in Memphis for Lily's second year scans, we saw tons banners and felt the hype for the St. Jude Marathon. I decided I wanted to participate in some of these running events...which also helped inspire me to start exercising. I thought a 5K would be the easiest to accomplish first, hence I downloaded the C25K app.
The kids and I walked our first 5K in the new OLOL Children's Hospital Amazing Half Marathon in March. They ran in the kids' races and love getting the shinny metals. It was such a fun day!
I also joined the Hogwarts Running Club and ran The Umbridge Run in April :)
Our family is registered for this year's St. Jude Walk.Run to End Childhood Cancer in September. It's "team Lily Raffray's" third year to participate. I registered for the new 5K chipped race! Our goal is to raise $10,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and we are halfway to reaching our goal thanks to the success of the 2nd Annual Lily's Tea Party.
I also want to be a St. Jude Hero and participate in the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend in December. I registered "team Lily Raffray" for the half marathon and joined a few other St. Jude heros to train. [Go "Team Trevor!"] My dear friend, Jenny, is joining me, too. We are so excited to work together to support St. Jude! Our fundraising goal is $1,000+!
As a birthday present to me, please support our fundraising efforts for "team Lily Raffray" at the Memphis Marathon Weekend and/or the Baton Rouge St. Jude Walk.Run. (The links are directly to our team fundraising page for each event.) Thank you!!
Create new invitation designs
After putting my invitation design business on the back burner during my teaching training/experience, it was time to get back to my much needed creative outlet! Here are just a few samples of my new designs:
Become a Disney Vacation PlannerHello, my name is Juliet and I'm a Disney Addict. I have a Disney-themed office, watch Disney movies and listen to Disney soundtracks, had a Disney-themed classroom, wrote a few blog posts about my Disney obsession, etc. etc. So it's no surprise I had interest in becoming a Disney vacation planner. After years of thinking and scratching the surface, I finally took the plunged and dug deeper in researching and talking to different agencies and found a fit with Mouse Tales Travel. I'm a graduate of the College of Disney Knowledge and a Universal Orlando Parks and Resort Specialist. I'm so excited to finally make this happen and can't wait to see where this adventure with Disney takes me!!
Shameless plug...please consider booking through me for your Disney (and/or Universal) vacation: www.facebook.com/JulietRaffrayMTT or firstname.lastname@example.org
Our family was long overdue for a vacation and the kids are always asking to go to the beach. Keeping with this year's family focus, we booked a quick vaca to Sandpiper Beacon Resort in Panama City. The weather and beach scenery were beautiful and we had a great time! The kids loved the resort with the indoor pool, slides, lazy river, and mini-golf...and the beach, of course! I haven't been in the Gulf water in years (I'm partial to pools with a lane lines). I enjoyed floating on the water with the kids and listening to their belly laughs as we were tumbled over from the waves. I loved watching my husband play in the sand with the kids. We needed this carefree time. This was our first vacation without Brendon since living on his own...plus, he went on a cruise the month before. LOL!
Gotta get my Disney fix...and secretly try to spend my birthday at WDWWith my new Disney travel endeavor, I just had to go back to Walt Disney World, of course. Thanks to Lily's Girl Scouts troop, we were able to go last week....just close enough to celebrate my 40th birthday at Disney :) With funds earned from cookie sales and various fundraisers, the troop was able to participated in two Disney Youth Education Programs at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.
Lily and I took this opportunity to have a "Mommy and Me trip." I don't think I've been to Disney World before with so many new attractions to see - Frozen Ever After, Soarin’ Around the World, Disney Springs, and the Star Wars Nighttime Spectacular - all fantastic!! It was by far my favorite Disney trip (next to our Disney Cruise). We enjoyed walking around the parks, taking in the magical ambiance, not rushing to attractions or standing in long lines, and no family fights - something I haven't done since my College Program days. Lily was an excellent Disney companion and I'm so glad we were able to spend this special time together. Best Disney Birthday!
So I guess you can say, 2016 is turning out to be an excellent year (Thank you, Lord) and turning 40 is not so bad. I've had a wonderful birthday month and a lazy birthday day with my kids. I pray for a long life with continued health and happiness. Now off to watch something Marvel with my wonderful husband :)